K so, we’re starting today with complete honesty. We’re just going to put it right out there. I used to be this person who cared about every single thing that I ate- like what was appropriate to eat at breakfast, lunch or dinner and what portions were appropriate. I didn’t necessarily listen to my body if it was extra hungry because the ‘health conscious’ side of my brain told me it was ridiculous that I was still hungry and that I’d had plenty. I also would have felt like having pasta for dinner after having toast at breakfast and some other kind of grain at lunch would have been just too much. I was stupid.
Then I became the person that no longer cares and just eats whatever I fancy at the time without thinking about it too much. In case you were wondering, it’s much better this way.
Why is this even remotely relevant to this pasta? Because the other day I was having a particularly hungry day where absolutely nothing was filling me up. There was this pasta plus meatloaf in the fridge and since I didn’t have to cook, I decided on a nice long walk before dinner. While walking, my stomach was growling so loud that I decided I was obviously going to have both the meatloaf and pasta for dinner and vegetables. And extra cheese. First of all, it was amazing. So amazing. And then I was so full I wanted to die but apparently not full enough to not eat the chocolate almonds that were on the coffee table.
It was a ridiculous day and I didn’t regret a single bit of it.
As you all know, I’m Canadian which means my Thanksgiving was back at the beginning of October so it’s long gone. What isn’t gone, though, is my cravings for all Thanksgiving foods and flavors. For even more honesty, we pretty much eat Thanksgiving-y and Christmas-y foods all fall and winter long because they’re the best. Period. We definitely don’t eat turkey and stuffing all season long because there’s zero chance of the two of us taking down an entire turkey and we most certainly can’t afford to be buying those suckers and feeding everyone else all the time, either. BUT I continue to cook with cranberries, all the herbs, turkey legs/sausage, etc. and bake holiday desserts all season. That we can afford.
This is the season of comfort, people. Embrace it.
OK OK so this pasta. It’s stupid easy and, if I haven’t made it obvious, it tastes like Thanksgiving in one big bowl of carby, creamy, cheesy pasta heaven. We’ve got onion and celery cooked in a little (or a lot…) of olive oil and butter, some turkey sausage that we’re gonna brown all over, rosemary, sage and thyme for ultimate stuffing flavor, roasted delicata squash partly because it’s pretty, partly because it’s delicious and also very fall appropriate, some half n half, plenty of asiago cheese and dried cranberries- both for stuffing flavor and because, again, pretty. That was also the longest sentence of life for which I am sorry.
OH, you should also fry some whole sage leaves in salted butter for serving because you haven’t indulged nearly enough yet this fall.
It all comes together really quickly so you do want to make sure you have everything prepped and ready to go before you begin (something I rarely do and always regret). While the pasta water is heating up, you’re browning the sausage and then sauteeing the onions, celery and herbs. When the pasta water is boiling, you put your squash rings in the oven to roast, you combine the sausage and veg/herb mixture, add the cream and half the cheese. Once the pasta is ready, save 2/3-1 cup of the water, drain the rest, combine pasta and sausage mixture, add the rest of the cheese and stir in the pasta water until you’ve reached your desired consistency and the cheese is melted. Then you divide it in to bowls, top it with the squash rings, cranberries and more cheese aand then you eat. It all happens in about 20 minutes.
20 minutes and you’re in pasta heaven. Sound good? Good.
- ¾lb short cut pasta (any kind)
- 1 lb plain turkey sausage, casings removed
- 1 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 2 tbsp butter, divided
- 1 medium yellow or sweet onion, minced
- 1 large stalk of celery, minced
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp fresh sage (from about 6 leaves), minced
- ½ tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- ½ tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, minced
- 1 medium delicata squash, cut in to rounds, seeds removed
- ½ cup half n half or heavy cream
- 1 cup grated asiago cheese + more to serve
- ⅔-1 c reserved pasta water
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Dried cranberries, for serving
- Preheat oven to 375F
- Set a large pot of water, well salted, over high heat for the pasta.
- chop/mince all vegetables/herbs.
- Toss delicata squash rounds (don't remove the skin!! It's ebidle!) in 1 tsp olive oil, a few pinches of salt and pepper. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet on the center rack of your oven and roast for 15-20 minutes or until completely cooked, flipping halfway.
- When pasta water is boiling, add pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining.
- Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add remaining olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the turkey sausage and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until completely browned and cooked through. Remove sausage to a plate or bowl- there shouldn't be much fat left in the pan.
- Add 1 tbsp butter along with onion and celery, stirring to scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. If you wish, you can add a splash of dry white wine to help deglaze the pan. Reduce heat to medium.
- Add a pinch of salt and continue to cook until both the celery and onion are completely soft, about 7-10 minutes.
- Add the garlic and herbs along with another pinch of salt and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Return turkey sausage to the pan and remove from heat. Add cream and half of the cheese, stirring until the cheese is completely melted.
- Add the mixture to the pasta along with ½ cup of the pasta water, stirring to coat. Add remaining cheese and remaining pasta water (if necessary), stirring until desired consistency is achieved.
- Divide pasta in to bowls, top with delicata squash rounds, dried cranberries and extra cheese.
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